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Investigating the Role Played By Mdantsane FM in Shaping Audience Perceptions about the LGBTI Community in Mdantsane Township, East London

Simo Cele and Mncedi Eddie Magade*

Department of Corporate Communication and Marketing, Walter Sisulu University, East London, South Africa

*Corresponding Author:
Mncedi Eddie Magade
Department of Corporate Communication and Marketing
Walter Sisulu University, East London, South Africa
Tel: +27742935786
E-mail: mmagade@wsu.ac.za

Received Date: Aug 28, 2019; Accepted Date: Oct 30, 2019; Published Date: Nov 07, 2019

Citation: Cele S, Magade ME. Investigating the Role Played By Mdantsane FM in Shaping Audience Perceptions about the LGBTI Community in Mdantsane Township, East London. Global Media Journal 2019, 17:33.

Copyright: © 2019 Cele S, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Abstract

The aim of this research paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of a particular local community radio station in addressing misrepresentations of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI+) community. The radio station is situated in the township of Mdantsane approximately 25 km from East London’s city centre. Community radio stations are regarded as pillar stones of society due to the fact that they are the voices of the communities within which they operate. In addition, radio stations have the duty to represent interests of all members of the communities they serve including those of the LGBTI people. This research therefore, seeks to find out what role (if any) does Mdantsane FM play in fulfilling this mandate? While in addition it seeks to investigate whether or not the station has a potential of shaping audiences’ perceptions about the queer community.

Keywords

Mdantsane FM; LGBTI community; Radio station; Mdantsane Township; Audience studies

Introduction

The South African society is still not educated and well informed about queer lives and vast differences within homosexuality [1]. The media has a huge effect on how society thinks and perceives a certain subject, and as a result, the media therefore contributes to the stereotypical set of thoughts that members of society have about homosexuality. Although there have been much improvements in LGBTI representations within the media space [2], much of the coverage has been mostly typical in nature and has misleading assumptions and beliefs about being queer. In instances where the media shows images and stories of people of the same sex, it is often met with public criticism, leading to many of these productions being cancelled [2]. Ott and Mack further state that when the media does involve homosexuality within its programmes, queer people are always laid bare for public ridicule and are often objectified.

This paper seeks to look at the role that community media, particularly community radio, plays in addressing the flawed perceptions that members of society have about homosexuality. The study seeks find out how selected audience members of Mdantsane FM perceive homosexuality, and whether or not the local radio station has a responsibility in enforcing, changing or even normalising these perceptions.

The Power in Perception

Understanding homosexuality remains one of the most difficult challenges in a world that is full of people who hold different views and values. The African society mainly holds two prominent views about homosexuality. The first and largely believed view is that, homosexuality is an evil and inferior disorder and that homosexual behaviour is a condition associated with being mentally disturbed [1]. A second view is that homosexuality is an organic part of the human spectrum that acknowledges the fact that people are born homosexual [1]. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community is a minority group and therefore, the manner in which they are portrayed and treated in various communities affects members of the LGBTI community as a whole [1].

Despite there being an increase in the study of LGBTI people in recent years throughout the world, there are still areas that can be explored such as; LGBTI communities in townships etc. There is a lack of data that explores the living conditions of homosexuals in South Africa especially those that are black and live in previously marginalised settings like townships [3]. Sanger states that; it is mostly in the United States where social perceptions of homosexuality were studied during the late nineties but it was mostly surveyed briefly rather than explored in its totality [4]. A high number of research looked into the origins of homosexuality and questioning whether it is natural or not. Recent studies into homosexuality have mainly looked into the myths surrounding homosexuality and what African religions and cultures say about the origins of sexuality and LGBTI community. These studies show that most people are still uncomfortable with homosexuality for a number of reasons, ranging from how different it is from societal standards of sexuality and gender and the discomfort also derives from not having a proper understanding of the LGBTI community [4].

The absence of research and educational material about the LGBTI community has a great impact on how society views homosexuals and also how the media portrays homosexuality. Gross acknowledges that communities are more likely to project what the media deems as “ reality ” towards their conceptions about the world, its people and how they function [5].

Although there has been a fair amount of LGBTI coverage within the media, there also has been less representation of the vast differences within the LGBTI community which has led to the construction of false ideas, stereotypes and perceptions about homosexuality [1]. Ringer recognises the multiple forms of experiences lived by queer people and warns against the blanket approach towards queer identity by the media [6].

Social Context

Over the past decade, research on the effects of media has purely focused on how people react to media content, in isolation from other surrounding factors [7]. Whilst this approach has had the benefits of giving insights into the process that explains media reactions and influences, it does however disregard the potential influence of the social context upon exposure to media content [7].

Social context is the sociocultural characteristic that shapes a person’s daily experiences and that directly and indirectly affects their behaviour and understanding [8]. These characteristics could be historical, political, organisational and institutional, ranging from; educational institutions, the media and the community at large. Furthermore, family and interpersonal relations also play a part in the shaping of one’s perspectives about social life [9]. Notably, these forces that form part of the social context construct are formed in relation to one another and often influence people in ways that one may not be consciously aware of [9].

Media and Society

Mass media occupy a high proportion of society’s leisure time, people spend, on average 25 hours watching television and in between also have time for radio, cinema, magazines and newspapers [10]. When looking at the effects of media, Mehraj et al. state that children consume television at an amount similar to time spent with family, friends and also at school [10].

The possibility of media effects on society is often seen to challenge individual sovereignty, as if a pro-effects view constitutes the public to be a gullible mass, vulnerable to the powers of the media and also proposes media to be the absolute cause of social behaviours. Within each societal generational setting, the role of mass media changes across age and cultural groups, the role mass media plays can be determined according to different sociological perspectives within a society [11].

The South African Society

South Africa is a divided society caused by structural legacies and socioeconomic inequalities formed from decades of colonial and apartheid rule which purposefully marginalised the majority black population with access to economic opportunities, quality education, political participation, land and basic human rights [12]. Apart from having the lowest human development index in the world, South Africa still has the highest rate of income inequality in the world, and this is rising exponentially. In 1994, South Africa entered a democratic dispensation under the leadership of the governing African National Congress (ANC) led by Nelson Mandela [13], this brought with it the false hope that things will change for the better. Throughout South Africa’s postapartheid history, the ANC led government has program in pursuit of ‘a truly united, democratic and prosperous social and economic transformation.

East London, Mdantsane

The Eastern Cape is home to approximately 6.5 million people, of which an estimated 3.4 million are receipt of social grants [14]. A big portion of about 68 percent of the social grants in the Eastern Cape is directed towards rural, townships and informal settlements dwellers who are mainly children and the elderly [14]. In 2012 alone, a total of R18 million worth of social grants were provided to Eastern Cape beneficiaries against a national social budget of R80 million [15].

Divided into 18 zones, Mdantsane township is host to an estimated 265 827 households with a population of 2.6 million people [16,17]. Located under the Eastern Cape’s Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, Mdantsane is mainly a female and child headed community with a demographic ranging from below 18 and above 60 years, with a high dependency on the governmental social support services to survive [18].

Community Radio; Mdantsane FM

Unlike other parts of the world, South Africa’s community radio station industry was established towards the end of the critical times of apartheid in 1994 and acted as a tool for mobilising and educating communities on the state of the country [19].

Communities use this platform to voice their concerns. Amner, states that community radio is mostly important because it gives individuals and groups of people the opportunity to ask direct questions, express opinions and be informed of decisions taken and to also pick up useful information. When a community radio station operates in this way, it becomes a site for the community to express its interests and desires. It involves the community in a dialogue and discussion on issues that are of interest to them [19].

Guo argues that, community radio contests traditional media powers by not only providing alternative frames through which to understand social realities using radio content, but also by enabling ordinary citizens to directly access and participate in media productions. Thus in the process empowering communities to define themselves rather than to be defined by others such as mainstream media [20]. Mdantsane FM was founded in 2008 under the control of a board of 10 directors. The station is situated at the heart of the Mdantsane community and is regarded as the voice of the people. The station is locally run, with presenters, managers and overall staff being residents of Mdantsane despite the station’s lack of funding.

Literature Review

Radio and social change

Of all media platforms, radio remains the top medium in terms of the number of people that it reaches. This is despite the fact that television has shown considerable growth during its inception stages in the 1990s. The history of South African broadcasting can be traced back from the time when the SA government sent an invitation to the British Broadcasting Corporation ’ s first director-general, John Reith. The invite asked Reith to come help build a national public service form of broadcasting similar to that of the British Broadcasting Corporation in 1934 [21]. The South African Broadcasting Corporation was then established in 1936, this saw the maintenance of a monopolistic public broadcasting service for 45 years.

The SABC operated as an apartheid mouth piece by only broadcasting its content in English and Afrikaans. Most of which was politically motivated and controlled. It was only in the 1960’s when the SABC introduced Radio Bantu where a small portion of airtime was given to black African citizens but this too also reinforced apartheid ideologies and perpetuated the separation of races [21].

Rama and Louw express how community radio is seen as a vehicle that gives a voice to local groups, because it enables the empowerment of people by giving them the means to inform and be informed within a participative communication medium. In a developing state like South Africa, community radio is seen as a powerful agent for social change and democratisation. It aims to provide a forum for community expression and a primary means of access to the broadcasting system that was previously seen as a commodity of the previous oppressive system [22].

When looking into the use of the media to foster social change, Mabokela acknowledges the high amount of change and understanding some societies like South Africa and the United States have adopted throughout the years due to the visibility of gays and lesbians in the television space. According to Mabokele, the depictions of gays and lesbians in popular media, has in some cases, displayed positive change of attitudes from the public. However, Mabokele fails to investigate the flaws in the visibility of the LGBTI community in the media and how this serves as an important point because it is what yields the acceptance or rejection of minorities by society.

Community radio and representation

Community radio is not only used for developing common discourse but it also plays a role in the dissemination of gender roles within society. Of the many influences on how society views men and women, the media is the most persuasive and most powerful. With radio and other form of media being joined to people throughout their daily lives, the media insinuates their messages into people’s lives at every turn. It is for this particular reason that representation within the community radio medium is a vital matter that requires attention. Furthermore, representations of the LGBTI community in local radio have mostly taken place in a stereotypical manner, conforming to societal beliefs [23].

Transgender and intersex people hardly make it in conventional media spaces - they are erased and rendered invisible [2,24], and at times even rediculed. Opposing the role placed upon community radio stations, McCombs and Shaw argue that the media has always had an agenda based on how society is. Even with the prevalence of ethical journalistic reporting and management within the media, there is always an agenda as to whom it resonates to and the purpose it is going to serve [25].

The state of homosexuality in Africa

Due to its colonial and oppressive history, Africa is one of the world ’ s biggest continent with the highest number of states that are opposing and still consider homosexuality as a crime. Thus, African states remain the biggest contributors with homophobic behaviours worldwide. Homophobia is the visibility of hostile attitudes, stigma and discriminations towards same-sexual orientation [26]. However, Johnson believes no African community has ever legitimized being gay and that homosexuality is un-African and unnatural. Johnson argues that homosexual people are regarded as sexually confused people that are either troubled by past traumas or their social surroundings. With 30 years ’ experience as a psychologist studying his homosexual patients, Johnson arrived to the conclusion that African theory has always maintained that life is made up of balancing and complementing forces [27].

Therefore, homosexuality cannot be viewed as a human characteristic but a created eugenic system that was scientifically designed to limit the livelihood of black people and cripple their expansion [27]. Many African states who have adopted anti-homosexual laws also share similar views with the Tanzanian governments’ approval of their anti-homosexual law, where the country has allowed the banning and reporting of any sign or suspicion of homosexual behaviour.

Nevertheless, African philosopher Matolino argues about being gay and African from a philosophic perspective. Matolino argues that the upsurge in the rejection of Africans on the basis of their sexual orientation does not make sense apart from the display of deep-seated resentment for the persons or their orientation. The claims that being gay or upholding same-sex orientation beliefs is un-African does not pose factual historic and philosophical interpretation to what opponents of same-sex relations could possibly take un- African reality to be. The colonial past and thus education of African’s history present a diluted version of what constitutes African culture and African history. Matolino argues that it is crucial to consider the basis for the objections of homosexuality and what harm does it pose to the civilisation of society [28].

South African homosexuality and the media

Radio is by far the most dominant and most important mass medium in Africa. It is because of the medium’s flexibility, low costs and oral character that it meets Africa ’ s needs for communication. However, there are different factors that contribute to the lack of developmental and educational teachings that community radio as a meduim has been characterised against.

Homophobia in the African continent is made up of national differences in the extent and intensity of anti-homosexual laws and legislations. Community radio, as a community ’ s mouthpiece, finds itself at a censored position of having to adhere to immoral rules of laws that advocate for hate, while at the same time they are also confronted with the responsibility to acknowledge ethical journalistic practices.

However, South Africa outdoes many Western and African countries when it comes to the development of legislation concerning the social equity of the LGBTI community [29]. South Africa was the first country in the world to voice sexual orientation as a human right in their constitution and also has a constitution that protects and strives for the freedom of the media. On the other hand, patterns of homophobia are dramatically visible and present throughout society and the media’s initiative towards educating communities on LGBTI people has only yielded change only on a selected group of citizens [29].

Mooney, Knox and Schacht argue that there is still a lot of violence and discrimination against the LGBTI community in South Africa especially in townships and informal environments. In the last decade, there was little improvement to curb the violence and hate directed towards the LGBTI community and the media has done little to address this issue [30]. Radio has proven to be a powerful medium for addressing and raising awareness on LGBTI human rights and their existence. With the efforts of commercial and national radio stations, programmes on LGBTI issues have been aired through interviews and phone-ins but the topic does not get as much airplay on community radio stations [30].

Ireland based a study of homophobia towards the South African LGBTI society by looking into the effects of religious beliefs, the lack of political and economic development and the country’s history of colonial rule that ensured the absence of freedom and openness within society [29].

Varying in size and propagation, religious systems have shaped and informed the debates on homosexuality in South Africa [31]. A significant aspect of African sexuality involves the relationship between religion and morality. Religious systems commonly include codes, rules and regulations for accepted moral behaviour, which also includes sexual behaviour. A common argument is that there are strong corresponding characteristics between religion and negative attitudes towards homosexuality.

In South Africa, the multifaceted religious landscape also involves belief systems commonly referred to as traditional or ancestral belief systems [32]. Traditional or ancestral belief systems have remained in a state of inter-relation with other religions. Traditional belief systems make up one of the country’s largest religious groupings together with Christianity [32]. All of which tend to be against homosexuality and view it as sin, crime and even an embarrassment.

Methodology

The structure in which a research project is conducted influences the outcomes and overall research content [33]. It is often assumed that research follows a scientific approach where a hypothesis is formulated and tested using precise techniques that coincides with that particular method. Quantitative research mostly takes shape in this structure but some researchers favour an approach that disregards the scientific model, stating that people and their social institutions are very different from the scientists ’ point of focus thus focusing on an approach that is more sensitive to the unique qualities within people and their social institutions [33].

Qualitative methods and methodologies

Conducting this research required an extensive and interactive approach whereby the research subjects were encouraged to offer their inner perceptions relating to the research topic. It is for this reason that a qualitative method was adopted for the purpose of this research. Qualitative research is often recommended when research seeks to understand how a process occurs [34]. It is also recommended when a researcher seeks to examine complex relationships between decision-making processes, physical settings, community characteristics, stakeholder’s interest, and existing institutional arrangements, availability of resources and the capacities of state, regional and local actors [34].

Therefore, qualitative evaluations tend to be descriptive and focus on explaining why a process is or is not effective and how different contextual factors influence the success of that process [34].

Triangulation

Explaining the validity and usefulness of the triangulation method, Bryman states that:

“ The main point of triangulation is to gain good understanding from different perspectives of an investigated phenomenon. That should not necessarily mean cross-checking data from at least two sources or methods and confirming it is correct or not. It’s more to increase the level of knowledge about something and to strengthen the researcher’s standpoint from various aspects”

Triangulation tests the validity of research findings. Validity in the sense that research findings accurately reflect the situation being investigated and also certainty in the sense that research findings are supported by different sources of evidence [36].

Patton cautions that triangulation is commonly mistaken as aiming at arriving with consistent findings across data sources or approaches, but in fact the different approaches only strengthen the data. In Patton ’ s view, inconsistencies in research should not be seen as weakening the evidence but should be seen as an opportunity to uncover deeper meaning in the data [37].

As the research deals with community members who are likely to listen to Mdantsane FM, purposive sampling was used to gather data. Purposive sampling is the sampling of cases or participants in a strategic way, to ensure that the samples are relevant to the research questions being posed [35].

Observations

A period of 3hrs 30 minutes per day was spent listening to two of the highly tuned into shows on Mdantsnae FM. This was the station ’ s Vuka Nathi Breakfast Show and their Masitshayise Afternoon Drive-time Show. The hours culminated to a total of 48hours that spanned for a period of 14 days. The researchers listened to the shows for a period of 14 days noticing the type of structure the shows follow and what they consisted of. Notes were taken throughout the period and the observation raised broad questions on the stations programing.

During the observation stage, key role players and listeners of Mdantsane FM were established through documents and listener analysis. The vision, mission and target market of Mdantsane FM and their staff compliment size were also established. People willing to participate in the research project were also identified by informal contacts and friendship networks.

Interviews

This study utilised qualitative interviews. The qualitative model of interviewing emphasises getting a view of the interviewee’s world as much as possible in replies and also grants much flexibility for the interview process. For the audience, the researcher used semi-structured interview methods.

Semi-structured interviews are built on the active participation of the interviewer, and the importance of giving the interviewee a voice and space to fully say their thoughts. The researcher used a set of questions specific to the research topic, this is often referred to as an interview guide. The interview guide is an outline of the areas the researcher feels are relevant to the research. Questions that were not included in the interview guide were also asked as follow up questions. In-depth interviews have no particular order, the respondent is free to talk and reveal his or her thoughts freely. The guarding questions were posed by the interviewers to guide the conversation around the topic and to also ensure the interviewers attained sufficient and the necessary information for the study.

Interviews were conducted in person and telephonically, where permission was granted. Interviews were audio taped and extensive notes were taken. In line with the above mentioned qualitative interviews, it was suggested that focus group interviews should be held. The interviews featured Mdantsane FM staff together with community members of different ages and social standing. The interviews were used to gain another level of the audience and the radio station’s attitudes towards homosexuality and community development as a whole. Denzin, indicates that social groups create their own structures and meaning. Group interviews provide access to the group’s level of meaning-making, clarify arguments and reveal diversity in views and opinions [38].

Data Analysis

The data was analysed using the grounded theory in qualitative data analysis. As put out by Bryman & Cramer; because qualitative data is formed using interviews, participant observation and the consumption and analysis of large textual materials, it is therefore not straight forward with its analysis. Furthermore, unlike quantitative data analysis, clear-cut rules about how qualitative data analysis should be carried out have still not been developed [33].

The grounded theory has become a highly used theory in qualitative research. Glaser and Straus developed the grounded theory [39]. This however, came after Glaser felt that Straus’s previous works on the grounded theory were too prescriptive and focused more largely on the development of concepts rather than theories [39-41].

The grounded theory has no definitive words describing it due to its complexity but it has a distinction of its tools and outcomes. The researchers focused on coding as its leading data analysis tool.

Coding is the key process in grounded theory. For this research, data was broken down into a different set of components. The data was broken down from the first time being collected, allowing for alterations and innovations to be made in order to fully develop the research project. As Charmaz puts it, “codes serve as shorthand devices to label, separate, compile and organise data [42].”

A number of methods were utilised in gathering information or data about the perceptions that Mdantsane FM audience have about homosexuality and to determine whether or not the community radio station has had a role in instilling or in shifting these perceptions. The information gathered was intended to provide answers to the research questions. The gathered information was also used as a way of verifying if there is any element of validity in the assumptions made by the hypothesis of this paper. A preliminary questionnaire was created and sent to the participants.

Preliminary Research Results

Out of a total of 10 participants for the interview questioning, five of the participants were females and the remaining five were males. To form an understanding of the participants ’ social standing and context, participants were asked of their age and educational level. The participants ranged between the ages of 18 to 35. All the participants expressed that they hold higher education degrees and National Diplomas as majority of them have studied at a tertiary institution.

The attainment of this information was important in understanding the respondents ’ social setting and aided in knowing their social context and also as a way of verifying their previous exposure to community media. The researchers explained to the respondents the idea behind the research being conducted and introduced seven questions to the participants. The questions are as follow:

• How often do you listen to Mdantsane FM? 80 percent respondents stated that they listen to the community radio station on a weekly basis and the remaining 20 percent said they listen to it on a quarterly basis.

• How does Mdantsane FM report on the LGBTI community? 50 percent of the interviewees said the station reports moderately on the LGBTI community and the other 50 percent said the station never reports on queer issues on times when they are listening.

• How do you perceive the LGBTI community in Mdantsane? 50 percent of the respondents had neutral views against the LGBTI community with another 50 percent showing tolerance and being accepting and pro-LGBTI.

• Explain the reason for your rating, what makes you feel that way?

Other respondents, who expressed being accepting of homosexuality said that they have never had a problem with queer people and that the respondents felt no hate towards them. Some of the reasons given by those who are pro-LGBTI, included the fact that they believe freedom is for all those who live in the world no matter their differences. While another 50 percent of respondents who said they are neutral towards the LGBTI community said they don ’ t have any issues with homosexuality but also do not view it as something that should be promoted for any good. Stating that there is no feeling of hate but there is also no support or acknowledgement of the community.

• Do you think Mdantsane FM has a role to play in shaping societal ideas of homosexuality?

Seventy-five percent of the respondents said they saw the need for Mdantsane FM to play its role in teaching society about homosexuality. They stated that this will help raise knowledge and awareness of the LGBTI community. On the other hand, the remaining twenty-five percent felt that there is no need for radio to play any role, but the members of society need to respect each other enough to accept their differences.

• In your view, should Mdantsane FM include LGBTI content within their programming? Motivate your answer.

The seventy-five percent that said they would like to see the station playing a role in teaching the audience about LGBTI issues, were the same participants that said there is a need for Mdantsane FM to normalise homosexuality by having it as a normal subject within the airwaves because this will be regarded as something that will positively influence society. The remaining twenty-five percent of the respondents who disagreed stated that it would not make any difference as it goes deeper than radio intervention but has to do more with cultural and religious intervention.

• How would the Mdantsane community perceive homosexuality should Mdantsane FM treat it as a normal subject?

Seventy-five percent of the respondents said there will be an increase of positive perspectives into matters concerning the LBTI community amongst audience. This will also ensure that the freedom and choices of those affected by the negative perceptions are respected by members of the community. Twenty-five percent of the respondents believed that this would perpetuate killings and endanger the lives of queer people even more and might even cause a decline in audience numbers of the station.

The interviews showed the majority of respondents to be a supportive base that recognised the need for community radio to be the driver of social change and the right tool for the teaching and societal engagement on issues that are not spoken about within society, like issues pertaining to homosexuality. It must be stated that while people are aware of gay and lesbian people, they did not understand in totality what the LGBTI community stands for and what it means to be a part of it. This could be attributed to a number of instances such as the misrepresentations of gay and lesbian people in the media.

The interviews yielded positive and negative responses from the participants. A majority of the respondents said the current state of community radio stations lacks diversity, inclusivity and proper representation. Although short and straightforward, the interviews opened the opportunity for other discussions on how the concept of homosexuality is still not understood and therefore having to include the entire LGBTI community will only deepen the level of disregard and ignorance many hold towards people of different sexual orientations. Many believed that community radio should be at the forefront of development in its environment (where it is situated) and also should it should aim to fulfill its role of being the voice of the community and being a medium that is dedicated to the growth of its community without fear of favour.

Findings and Conclusion

This research paper was aimed at establishing the perceptions residents of Mdantsne Township have on LGBTI people. In addition, it aimed to find out whether the community radio station, Mdantsane FM, has any role in shaping these thoughts, perceptions and attitudes towards the LGBTI community.

Within the literature, it was discovered that radio can be seen as a change agency that is meant to push a certain narrative and influences society into a certain manner of thinking and approaching issues. It was also discovered that audiences can react to what is being given to them as truth and reality – but at times they may choose to accept or reject the media messages they are uncounted with. This is where representation matters and where the understanding of gender and sexual differences is important and vital within the media. How the media portrays homosexuality can influence how society can react, analyse and understand it.

Ultimately, it was seen as the job of civil society to want change and to want to create conversations that build and encourage peaceful living and acceptance amongst citizens. When studying how people perceive a subject such as homosexuality and the influence of community radio in shaping these thoughts, many things are considered to be leading causes. That being religion, culture and the community’s social structure. However, community radio still remains an important part of social life especially in Africa. This means that it has the ability to shape what people are exposed to. It is therefore important for community radio to realise its influence and put into consideration the vast kind of people it broadcasts for and how they can go about creating an inclusive space for all.

Recommendations

Mdantsane FM has the potential to bring about change with regards to how the community views homosexuality if they become a station that is inclusive of all residents and represents all people fairly with the aim of educating people on the lives of other people. The research revealed that people do not fully understand homosexuality and thus the station should make their reporting a teaching lesson for all community members. The stations management and staff should learn more about the importance of representation and gender freedom. The station should reach out to the community and get their views on how the station should go about with their programming and work with the community in advancing the stations influence and ensuring change takes place in the process.

Limitations

The research study occurred within a short period of time and therefore the collection of information on the state of the environment in Mdantsane could have been advanced and better put. Resources were also a stumbling block as the researchers unable to travel to the community radio station for a longer period of time to see how the station operates and what governs the stations programming.

As the research looked into how listeners of Mdantsane FM perceive homosexuality and the influence of the station into these ways of thinking, the research could have been advanced with getting the views of queer people or organisations in the East London area. The research stands at being advanced and carried forward with putting into thought and focus other surroundings and taking a look at the state of community radios in South Africa as a whole.

References

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